Victor Vazquez equalized with stoppage time penalty to help a shorthanded Toronto FC side overcome the early injury exit of Sebastian Giovinco and take a one-point lead in the Eastern Conference following a 2-2 draw with New York City FC on Wednesday night.
Ashtone Morgan – TFC's longest-tenured player – also scored his first career MLS goal to give the Reds an early lead before Giovinco exited with what was later called a back bruise. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley were already away with the US national team. And adding to the shorthanded theme, coach Greg Vanney received his marching orders minutes after halftime from referee Jorge Gonzalez in the aftermath of a disallowed Toronto goal for an unusual offside call.
David Villa leveled in first-half stoppage time and then set up Maxi Moralez's go-ahead goal 11 minutes after the break for New York, which could've closed the gap on Toronto and the Chicago Fire to two points with a victory. Instead, the Reds moved a point ahead of Chicago, who visit NYCFC on Saturday.
- 11' – TOR – Ashtone Morgan Watch
- 45'+2 – NYC – David Villa Watch
- 56' – NYC – Maxi Moralez Watch
- 90'+1 – TOR – Victor Vazquez Watch
- NO HARM DONE: Vanney might’ve worried that his flare-up with the officials could’ve influenced the officials against his side in a big decision late. He needn’t worry, though, as Gonzalez calmly pointed to the spot after ruling that RJ Allen had tugged down Jordan Hamilton.
- GETTING AWAY WITH IT: If Toronto does end up winning the battle for the Eastern Conference and maybe the Supporters’ Shield, matches like Wednesday would suggest depth could be a deciding factor. But that’s only part of the story. The Reds (4W-3L-4D on the road) are tied with the LA Galaxy for most away points earned with 16. They join LA as the only two MLS teams with more away wins than away losses.
- TABLES TURNED: Technically, New York City remains undefeated in regular season play against Toronto, with two wins and four draws in their six matches. But including Toronto’s 2016 conference semifinal thrashing of NYCFC, 7-0 on aggregate, Patrick Vieira has yet to see his team earn three points in five matches against the Reds since taking the reigns to begin 2016.